So, you want to make a movement.
Perhaps you feel passionately about something. Or, maybe you think there is an opportunity to make change. Heck, maybe you just want to shake things up a bit.
Regardless of your motivation, making a movement may seem like a monumental and abstract task. However, we have found that there are actually some concrete steps to follow. And, as a movement of our own, perhaps a meta-movement, we figured we’d share. These include:
- Discover your Passion
- Define your Values
- Find the Others
- Determine the Outcomes
- Formulate your Strategy
- Establish the Foundation
- Execute, Execute, Execute
Not that a seven item list doesn’t provide all of the information you’ll ever need to launch a monolithic movement, but let’s break these down into a bit more detail for you:
Discover Your Passion
There’s not really any point in making a movement if you’re not passionate about the movement you’re making. What is it that drives you? What do you care about deeply? What has the potential to impact and improve society?
Above all, we would recommend identifying and focusing on the root causes that led to whatever thing you’re passionate about. It’s easy to get swept up in surface level emotion, however focusing on the symptoms instead of root causes is the most surefire way to waste a bunch of time without making any meaningful change. The fundamental purpose of any movement is change (you can’t move if you’re standing still), so it’s critical to ensure you’ve found something that’s capable of moving prior to investing much time.
For us, our passion is empowering humanity to do what we love. We believe that, if people are enabled to do the things they love, learning, improvement and impact will quickly follow.
A key aspect of this is creating an environment that fosters a person’s ability to love the thing they are doing. On the flipside, an environment that doesn’t give the person a voice, vision and opportunity to execute in accordance with their values is likely to produce dissatisfaction and disinterest, even if they are doing the thing they would otherwise love.
Define your values
Almost as important as your passion are your values. Maybe just as important. Maybe even more important, who knows? We’re all just making shit up.
Your passion tells you what you want to accomplish and your values provide the guardrails for how you will get there. Some might call them a moral compass or ethics, your values are your non-negotiable characteristics guiding your movement.
Our top requirement for anyone joining is non-divisiveness. There are countless things where we disagree with one another, however we believe that the primary root cause of society’s issues is the manufactured Us vs. Them as people are divided into convenient subgroups and taken advantage of.
We understand the animalistic impulse to find an enemy and there are countless movements that exist that are more than enthusiastic to help you satiate those desires. However, for this movement, we are focused on addressing the common root issues that ultimately cause these symptomatic divisions.
This isn’t to suggest that a white supremacist who wants to eradicate minorities would be welcomed. Nor is it to say that a militant extremist who wants to do the same to Conservatives would be accepted. Both are examples of divisiveness which cannot be permitted to obstruct our unified improvement goals.
Find the Others
It’s very easy to get excited about something and spend an inordinate amount of time and effort creating content, writing code or knocking on doors just to discover that there is already an initiative doing the thing you wanted, only they are miles ahead of you.
This shouldn’t be a bad thing! It’s awesome to hear that there are other people interested in the thing you’re passionate about. This is the best form of market validation one could receive. However, if you spend some effort doing your diligence and forming partnerships instead of diving headfirst into your idea, you may find yourself significantly further ahead with a fraction of the work rather than with a shell of an idea compared to your would-be partner.
For us, this is why we created the Human Union subreddit. We saw that there are countless people out there who are fed up with the status quo. And we figured, if there are others out there who are already working on a comparable plan, we’d love to join forces and collaborate rather than duplicate effort and compete.
At the end of the day, we’re not doing this to make money, we’re doing this to build a better society. And so, if there are others out there with similar aspirations, we’d love to talk and to join forces.
As a great proof of concept, when the name was first considered, our first step was to search the internet for any existing efforts. Sure enough thehumanunion.org already existed. Fortunately, reading through the website, it was clear that their effort and values were closely aligned, so we figured, let’s go with it.
Determine the Outcomes
It’s incredibly easy to get excited about something and to spin yourself dizzy on the unlimited tactical items you could execute against. And at the end of that dizzy spell, it’s rather likely you’ll end up passing out in a pool of your own vomit. So to speak, hopefully.
However, if you take a step back and, in considering the root causes that impact your passion, understand what you are actually trying to accomplish, you’ll likely realize there are a world of things that aren’t worth your time. Being able to effectively and efficiently (otherwise known as productively) execute is just as much about knowing what not to do as it is about knowing what to do.
In our case, our outcomes are pretty clear: we want to empower 1,000,000 people to start their own business over the next ten years. Why a million and ten? Because those are nice, clean, memorable, round numbers. And why start their own business? Because we believe it will enable people to achieve freedom and drive velocity of money for their respective communities.
There are other ancillary things we want to achieve, of course. But those are primarily a byproduct of the higher level objective, as the word ancillary suggests. By remaining focused on clear, specific and measurable objectives, it makes it much easier to build support and remain focused on what you’re trying to achieve.
Formulate your Strategy
Now that you understand what you are trying to accomplish, the next step is determining how you are going to get there. Similar to how there are an unlimited number of things you could aim to achieve, there are an unlimited number of ways to achieve them.
Not having a well defined strategy will likely once again result in confusion, disarray and, ultimately, frustration. Nothing is worse than bringing together a group of people and getting them excited about a shared mission only to end up wasting a ton of time on a hodgepodge of disconnected activities while ultimately not accomplishing much more than resentment.
For the Human Union, our primary strategy to enable people to start their own businesses lies within our intended organizational structure itself. Rather than choosing a traditional for profit or nonprofit model, we are creating a hybrid model in which we hope to achieve the best of both worlds.
By creating a nonprofit that owns a for profit, we are ensuring that any profit generated is returned to the nonprofit for the benefit of all rather than disproportionately rewarding the early movers. At the same time, by having for profit organizations owned by the nonprofit, we will be able to compete in areas where nonprofits would not be permitted.
We believe this symbiotic relationship will enable us to maximize our potential impact and our public support. Further, we plan to build our core operation on volunteer effort and small dollar individual donations, while building momentum to bring people onto the team fulltime. Understanding the strings attached to large dollar donations as well as the oftentimes questionable funding sources, we believe that, while a human powered effort may be more challenging, it will ultimately enable us to remain true to our values.
Establish the Foundation
We’re getting close to the end! How exciting! Now that the hard work of figuring out the type of movement you’re passionate about, what you want to accomplish and how you’ll do so, the next step is planting the seeds that should ultimately lead to a bountiful harvest. And by harvest, we of course mean leading a successful movement which achieves your desired outcomes.
The first step is likely identifying your core co-contributors and determining what each will contribute. How you determine your structure is entirely up to you, though we’ve found that giving people a voice and autonomy to operate within a well defined structure is the best way to create a passionate, engaged and enthusiastic team.
With your core team established, we’d next recommend defining your fundamental structure, guidelines and process. Within structure, you’ll want to figure out how you communicate, how you determine changes and how you’ll make decisions. Within guidelines, if you’re creating a community, for instance, you’ll want to clearly define what is acceptable, what isn’t and what will happen when people violate the norms. Finally, the key to process is creating just enough process and focusing on the things you’ll do repeatedly. Things like onboarding, content planning and meeting cadence are good places to start.
As we’re working to kick things into higher gear with the Human Union movement, we have a few core members who met in response to the Covid pandemic and others who met through subsequent projects focused on decentralizing finance. Our next step is to bring this to the Progressive Coders Network with the plan to initially launch this as an independent nonprofit under their 501(c)3 umbrella, ultimately to spin off as an independent nonprofit.
In addition to this, we see Reddit as a fantastic channel for identifying core members, collaborators and supporters. We see throughout countless subreddits a simmering anger at the same underlying broken societal structure ready to boil over. The opportunity we see is that, while the symptoms are amenable, the discourse is primarily fueled by hatred, with little focus on creating solutions. We believe this movement can channel this collective energy into something more positive and productive for everybody.
Execute, Execute, Execute
And finally, it’s time to get down to tactical execution (which, as an aside, feels like a terrible word). If you’ve followed the first six steps, you should have a clear roadmap laid out for what you’re trying to accomplish and how best to go about it. Investing the time building a proper foundation should enable you to cut through the noise and understanding where to focus.
Speaking of focus, this is probably the most important thing you can do when making a movement. Perhaps I should have titled this section “Focus, Focus, Focus” just because of how critical it is, but we’re already here, so let’s keep rolling. You’re infinitely better off doing one thing extremely well and comprehensively rather than doing a thousand things incompletely.
For ourselves, we have three focal areas (OK, OK, it’s more than one, but far fewer than a thousand!): Community, Commerce and Code. On the Community side, we are leveraging Matrix and Element to create an open, decentralized and secure Networked Community. For Commerce, we are building a decentralized finance tool on top of Apache Fineract. And on Code, we are launching a Modern Business which will provide individual businesses with the tools they need to grow and scale their business.
The specific place we see getting started is creating an open source, chat-bot based, mad-libs style content generation and syndication tool, enabling people to plug in information about their movement and automatically generate a variety of content, including images, pitch decks, incorporation documents, and even good new-fashioned memes. These are the seeds from which our movement shall grow and bloom.
This isn’t one of the steps, though in hindsight, perhaps it should have been. There is certainly an unlimited amount of work to do to make a successful movement, and seven steps laid out across two thousand words is hardly going to get you there. However, this post represents the seeds for this movement, with roots and petals and flowers soon to follow. As we continue our progress, we will continue to document what we know and learn, so that we may achieve shared success in building a Human Union and creating Society 2.0.